Thursday, November 29, 2007

Book Review: Garlic & Sapphires

Garlic & Sapphires - The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic in Disguise
Ruth Reichl

Mel recently loaned me this book, saying it was a brilliant read. I have to agree.

I can admit, I've never heard of Ruth Reichl before in my life. And I will, in all likelihood, forget her name before another week passes (I am truly hopeless with names). But I will remember this book for a VERY long time.

Ruth was the New York Times food critic back in the 90s who resorted to wearing disguises to avoid being recognised in the restaurants so that she could experience the "average" person's dining event.
Her writing style is warm, engaging, witty, and humourous. Be warned: if you start reading this book it is entirely likely that other parts of your life will grind to a halt until you finish the last page. You will also find yourself laughing out loud in parts, and grinning happily in others, which will make other public transport patrons look at you oddly. But you simply can't help it: as she recounts her adventures as Brenda, Holly, Chloe et al. you can just picture it all happening. And don't get me started on her descriptions of the food... I've never been a sashimi fan, however after just one paragraph where she describes what must surely be some of the most divine sashimi on the planet, I found myself almost able to taste and feel the food and, dammit, I wanted some! So, before Christmas I am going to taste at least three different types of sashimi. But I digress.

Several of her favoured recipes are also dotted throughout the book (thankfully there is an index at the end to help you find them again), and I have scribbled many of them down to try at some point.

Other books to Ruth's credit are Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, both of which I can't wait to find and read.

Thanks again Mel, I enjoyed this book SO much, it really brightened the end of my week (alas, because I could barely put it down I read it in a little over a day).

I give it 4.5/5


mellie said...

Glad you enjoyed the book - I too found it extremely enjoyable.

Now we just have to make those gourges :-)

Anna said...

Oh yes, definitely. I almost attempted them yesterday afternoon but ended up quite busy, then slept this afternoon away!

Maybe next week...

Johanna said...

You'll Love Tender at the Bone and Comfort me with apples, too - they're both fantastic!!!